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Charles calls time at Llanfair Ginny

Created on 17/09/2020 @ 09:37

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is recruiting a new general manager after Charles Spencer (pictured) announced that he will retire on March 31, 2021, after six years in the post.

His impending departure has been greeted with sadness by many W&LLR members and supporters, but W&LLR chairman Steve Clews admitted that the news was not a complete surprise.

“Charles said right from the start that he would be in position for only four to five years dependent upon his personal situation and commitments, so I am actually thinking of this as us having had an extra year,” Steve commented.

“Charles has made a huge contribution over the last five years to moving the W&LLR to another level,” he added.

Charles first encountered the W&LLR while on holiday from his native Canada, where he had enjoyed a high-level career in central banking. He was encouraged to join the line’s volunteers and after retiring from his career trained and qualified as a locomotive fireman. When the W&LLR general manager role became vacant Charles applied for and secured the post, with Trustees particularly impressed with his experience of managing large volunteer projects.

Charles emphasised that his decision to step down had been made purely for family reasons and his forthcoming retirement on the Isle of Man, and he had no intention of leaving the W&LLR behind him.

“I still want to come back and shovel coal in steam locomotives on a regular basis,” he said.

“It was a great first five seasons and a pity the sixth was hit by the virus.

“But considering the circumstances we will come to the end of this year in remarkably good financial shape thanks to the support of volunteers, staff, members and donors, and that’s a great position in which to leave the railway.”

The W&LLR Trustee Board has begun the process to appoint a successor, and Steve Clews emphasised that for now it is business as usual.

“Charles remains in post as general manager and in charge until the completion of a handover to his replacement. He retains absolute support from the board, and we look forward to working alongside him until his departure.”

PICTURE by Andrew Charman: W&LLR Charles Spencer – stepping down as general manager but not handing over his firing shovel…


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